It’s pretty clear to anyone with a pair of functioning eyeballs — or to even those cyclopes among us — that Pride-of-Louisville trad-rockers My Morning Jacket didn’t rise to the ranks of arena and festival headliners on the strength of their looks. I mean, they’re not mistakable for Hills Have Eyes cast-offs or anything like that. But if 'N Sync were a boy band, and The Crystals were a girl group, My Morning Jacket is definitely a man band.
Seriously, Jim James & Co. look like they frequent the backwoods salons of Appalachia, and only as frequently as every couple years. They look like guys who probably know the feeling of finding a few four-day-old french fries stuck between their toes as removed from five-day-old socks. With their beards like bushy birds' nests burying pale mugs— like, probably stuck together with mud and twigs — they’re some dedicated, unkempt longhairs. Some would say hippies even. They look like what Lynyrd Skynyrd meant when singing “Ooh, That Smell.” My Morning Jacket looks like capital-D Dudes.
Hey, I’m not judgin’ — I could have easily taken the above prose from a diary description of myself and done a simple search-and-replace. However, My Morning Jacket’s bedraggled airs appear a bit of a hang-up for Vanderbilt University — promoters of tomorrow night’s Commodore Quake at the school’s Memorial Gym. I’m highly suspicious of the school’s confidence that the band’s birds' nests won’t scare away segments of the student body when they headline the annual fall shindig tomorrow night. Opening — I repeat, OPENING — the show is burgeoning smooth-faced, smooth pop R&B heartthrob-on-the-rize Trey Songz.
While traipsing through The Gulch the other night, I noticed a poster advertising The Quake taped to the window of Ru San’s — you know, the sushi joint that sounds like a never-ending Paul Oakenfold set. From across the sidewalk, my peepers met the words My Morning Jacket, but as they scrolled down I was struck with the cut, collegiate physique of a pensive Songz — his image eye-fucking me with its seductive stare. Whadda juxtaposition, eh? I was all like, “WUT? Oh yeah, college kids. Undergrads. DUH!”
Still, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. You may have had a similar reaction when you noticed the image in question at the top of this post (capturing the poster as currently posted at neighboring Gulch java hut Casablanca Coffee). I suppose it makes some sense to feature Songz over MMJ in promo materials — he’s had two charting singles this year, while the jackets of dawn enjoy more of a mass-cult appeal. But look at the image (below) of the band taken from Vandy's official site.
You can’t even see their faces. What is it about those faces that Vanderbilt is trying to hide?!!! Does My Morning Jacket's visually aesthetic Kentuckability soil the school’s prestige? Did the band members all get Save WRVU facial tats? Will they be forced to wear brown paper bags during tomorrow night’s performance?
WHAT IS BEHIND THIS INDIE-ROCK PHANTOM OF THE OPERA BULLSHIT?!
Perhaps the only way to find out is to pop your collar, tighten your tie belt, wrangle your J crew and head on down to Memorial Gym tomorrow night and see for yourself. According to the Quake’s Twitter, seats are selling briskly, so don’t snooze on acquiring 'em.
Now, we here at Cream thought it only fair to amend those Gulch-prevalent show posters with a more accurate (if only slightly) visual mash-up to rep tomorrow night's proceedings: